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Why you might be missing your commute

Commuting creates opportunities

Commuting allows employees to engage in some degree of prospection about work. Perhaps the commute also offers an opportunity to engage in deeper levels of creativity.

  • Globally, the average commuting time is 38 minutes each way. That adds up to a lot of time, which may offer a chance to read, listen to a podcast, audiobooks, or playing Scrabble.
  • It also allows time for boredom where the mind can wander, which can produce original thoughts and also problem-solving.
  • During the evening commute, one has time for reflection after the working day is done.

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Why you might be missing your commute

Why you might be missing your commute

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200519-why-you-might-be-missing-your-commute

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

The stress of commuting

The journey to work is often more stressful than the work itself. Surveys and studies have found that commuting is people’s least favorite activity. But now, with many of us at home and commutes on pause, we realize that it served a purpose.

Transitional buffer

A new study examines the function of the commute as a psychological gateway between home and work.

The daily commute serves as a "role-clarifying prospection" - it gives you the time and space to think about the upcoming work role.

Commuting creates opportunities

Commuting allows employees to engage in some degree of prospection about work. Perhaps the commute also offers an opportunity to engage in deeper levels of creativity.

  • Globally, the average commuting time is 38 minutes each way. That adds up to a lot of time, which may offer a chance to read, listen to a podcast, audiobooks, or playing Scrabble.
  • It also allows time for boredom where the mind can wander, which can produce original thoughts and also problem-solving.
  • During the evening commute, one has time for reflection after the working day is done.

Replacing the commute

Many are starting to miss the sanctuary of their car on their long commutes to work, where they could eat in calm or catch up on calls and messages.

To adjust to the new working-from- home reality, small daily rituals may help, e.g., putting on work clothes to start your day and change when it is done. Setting your intentions for the day and ending on time is another to help you adjust.

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The new normal

Global companies, from the UK to the US, Japan to South Korea, have recently rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of the new virus.

Working from home will become t...

Clear communication

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

Treat it like a real job
  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

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Burnout When Working From Home
Burnout When Working From Home

Working from home does not necessarily mean we are enjoying life and can’t be in stress. Work can feel dull and monotonous as there is comparatively less movement or change of scenery.

With...

Burnout And The World Health Organization
  • According to the World Health Organization, Burnout is classified as an occupational phenomenon, also known as vital exhaustion.
  • It is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress and anxiety, causing physical and mental problems.
  • The symptoms include energy depletion, exhaustion, increased mental distance, a negative outlook towards one’s job and diminished productivity.
WFH Burnout Symptoms

Burnout is experienced in a different shade at home, where the symptoms tend to be tiredness, confusion, forgetfulness, frustration and anger. As the mood starts to dip slowly, the mind reaches a low state, from which it is hard to climb back.

Taking a vacation is a great idea, to begin with, even if you don’t really go anywhere. The idea is to take a break from your work.

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Doing Everything

As more and more people work from home, there is a new kind of pressure: Maximum Productivity. In the middle of a worldwide crisis, the Internet is filled with stories of people organizing...

Always On Work

The ‘Always-On-Work’ culture makes the people's identity tied to their job and there is an unspoken belief that every minute of one’s lives must be commodified and turned into profit or self-improvement. 

Most youngsters carry this impulse to optimize every minute of their lives. There is a tendency to keep ‘doing’ stuff, instead of just ‘being’.

We All Are In A Spot

One has to realize that all kinds of people, upper-middle-class, middle or working class, have their job and livelihood at stake right now.

It is best to be compassionate and grateful and not let the feelings of fear, panic or stress creep into the mind. Keep yourself cheered up with small pleasures and endure this ‘At Home’ time.

Digital Nomad
The idea of working from home, on your laptop, flexibly, without having to do the daily commute, is appealing to many office workers.
In the UK there are 4.8 million freelance wo...
The Other Side

Studies on long term work-from-home workers found that lack of interaction with colleagues and the lack of an office vibe can result in a disconnection from the outer world, leading to isolation.

Working at Home

Pitfalls of working from home: 

  • Mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Feeling isolated
  • Less self-discipline
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unable to keep the boundaries between work and life.

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Keep the Same Schedule

To give your day structure, keep the same routine as when you went into an office. Get up at the same time and make a to-do list. Check in with the same person every morning.

Your s...

Set Boundaries

Pick a place for your office away from distraction.
Boundaries also apply to other people who may be sharing the same space. Children can work alongside you as if they were coming to the office.

Schedule Breaks

You won't have the same cues as you do from your workplace to remind you to get up or get lunch. When you lose the pace of your day, everything can start to blend together.

Treat your exercise, meals and stretch breaks as you would any other meeting. Put it on your calendar, at least to start.

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An Unbalanced Life

We live in a culture where work demands our complete allegiance. At the same time, it can be extremely enriching. You feel challenged by your work, you're attached to it, you're learning new things...

Redefine Success

Reconsider how you define success. Workaholics are always aiming to get ahead. But you also need to draw a boundary line that shows respect for your family life, and your physical and spiritual well-being.

Refocus Your Attention

After you have redefined success, consider how you want to invest your time and energy. 

There will always be more work to be done, but make a choice to spend your time elsewhere: with family, friends, or in your community. And when you spend time with your family or friends, do so with undivided attention.

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The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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Longing For The Office Culture
Longing For The Office Culture
  • Earlier a privilege for a few, work from home became a norm for most office-goers due to the ongoing pandemic and is likely to remain for the rest of the year.
  • The shift towards wo...
Work-Life Balance When Working From Home
  • Though employees are happy to see the demise of daily commutes and parking hassles, they are finding out that there is no work-life balance at home.
  • Most workers live in apartments that aren’t suitable for 8 to 10 hours of work every day, as it was never designed to be a full-fledged office.
  • Many employees would want to get back to offices as soon as possible due to social and mental issues, like the feeling of loneliness at home.
Digital Monitoring

Monitoring software that checks time spent on different applications, chat response time, and keystroke recording is now in great demand.

HR departments worldwide are fueling the use of technology to have a way to control the employees that are now no longer in the office.

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Helping others during a pandemic

Research shows that, whenever we help others, we help ourselves too. This happens because we focus on someone else's needs rather than ours, which enables us to feel less stressed and more conn...

Helping others while in quarantine

If you feel like helping others while you are forced to stay in self-isolation, here is some good news for you: this is totally possible. By making donations to hospitals, caring for doctors' children or creating opportunities of any kind for people to gather up virtually, you can not only make the ones around you feel less stressed but also give yourself a chance to rediscover the true meaning of the community and focus on something else but your own worries.

Seize the opportunity to help others

Volunteering has mostly positive effects for both sides. Being willing to take a risk of contracting a virus or just spending your free time helping others instead of focusing on yourself can actually pay off. Furthermore, volunteering can even feel as an easy task, provided that you control how much time you spend focusing on the others. Don't go overboard and everything will be alright.

Psychological Effects of Working from Home
  • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
  • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...
Symptoms of Depression
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
  • Increased cravings for food.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Avoiding people.
Take Care of Your Mental Health

...while working from home:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
  • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
  • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
  • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
  • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.